In a major jolt to India's Olympic preparations, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has extended the suspension of India's National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) by another six months, stating that it fails to conform with international standards.
WADA had first suspended NDTL last August for six months. A fresh round of inspections conducted by the world body, much to the embarrassment of India's sporting establishment, showed that theses discrepancies still existed.
“In February 2020, when the six-month suspension period elapsed and some outstanding non-compliance issues had not been addressed successfully, WADA's Laboratory Expert Group (LabEG) recommended the initiation of further disciplinary proceedings against the laboratory based on the outstanding non-conformities," WADA said in a statement.
It further mentioned that the disciplinary committee mandated to make a recommendation to the WADA chair then gave its status report, asking for an extension in suspension, following which the accreditation of the National Dope Testing Laboratory in New Delhi, India, has been suspended for a second period of up to six months (till 17 January 2021).
However, if the laboratory satisfies the LabEG in meeting the requirements during the period of suspension, it may apply for reinstatement prior to the expiry of the six-month suspension period.
As per Article 13.7 of the WADA Code, India’s Anti-Doping lab can appeal against this decision in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days of receipt of the notice.
Due to the suspension, NDTL will not be able to carry out any anti-doping activities, including all analyses of urine and blood samples. All the urine samples collected by the India’s Anti-Doping Agency are being sent to the WADA-accredited lab in Doha.
Meanwhile, given the manner in which the suspension had been handled, there is a provision for another six-month suspension which could mean that NDTL won't be able to do any testing before the Tokyo Olympics in July, 2021.